Under the Dominion Lands Act, once Crown land had been surveyed and officially declared available for settlement, individuals could apply to homestead a quarter section (160 acres) of their choice. Then, after paying a $10 filing fee and 'proving up' their homestead claim (occupying the land for at least three years and performing certain improvements, including building a house and barn, fencing, breaking and cropping a portion of the land), the homesteader could apply for patent (title) to the land.
Dominion Lands Branch in Ottawa managed the homesteading process, although business was conducted at local land agency offices throughout the Province. When each quarter section was homesteaded for the first time it was given a file number and all documents relating to that quarter were placed on file until the land patent was granted.
Materials provided by the Provincial Archives of Alberta and University of Alberta Libraries